Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sparkles for Your Feet: My Enduring Love of Shoe Clips


A while back, one of the girls in my local Lolita community asked for constructive criticism on one of her first coordinates. One of her questions was about the color of her shoes. It was a black and pink coordinate, and she had gone with black tights and shoes.

Some of the girls suggested that she look for pink shoes, but I suggested shoe clips as an alternative. After explaining to her what they are, her response was quite enthusiastic:
“Oh. That is the greatest invention ever why haven't I heard of this? I am going to make myself some of those. Thank you so much! Great idea!”

Which got me thinking: why don’t people know about shoe clips?

What are shoe clips?

Shoe clips are exactly what they sound like: clips for your shoes. They allow you to change the look of your shoes in a snap without making any such changes permanent.

What styles of shoe clips are there?

What style do you want?

Shoe clips made by Steve Madden
There are really no limits to the possibilities with shoe clips. Many vintage clips are rhinestone or metallic numbers in traditionally feminine or abstract shapes. On Etsy, you can find a number of sparkly shoe clips embellished with feathers, flowers, bows, and other items. Some high fashion numbers feature two clips and chains that are meant to drape across the back of the shoe.

And, if you’re inclined to make your own, you can get even more creative. Use junk jewelry to create sparkles. Use broken dolls for a macabre, dolly kei look. Add dangles, draping, feathers, or frills. Your only limitation, really, is your imagination and the size of your clip.

Where can you find shoe clips?

To the internet!

There are a number of shops that sell shoe clips. Handmade clips are easy to find on Etsy and other handmade goods websites. Some designers make shoe clips on occasion. Some webites like Absolutely Audrey specialize in shoe clips and shoe chains.

If you’re looking for vintage shoe clips, Etsy and Ebay are two excellent options. Just search “vintage shoe clips” and see what you find. There are a number of them floating about.

Or, if you’re the crafty sort, you can always learn to make your own…

How can you make your own shoe clips?

Making your own shoe clips is much easier than you might think. There are a number of tutorials floating around on the internet, so I’ve collected a few of my favorites for you:
  • Honestly WTF featured a tutorial for rhinestone shoe clips made from bits of broken jewelry.
  • Bows and flowers add a classic, feminine touch to your shoes and are perfect for Lolita or otome kei.
  • Want something a little shinier? Make featured a tutorial on LED light-up shoe clips.
  • Rock ‘n Roll Bride has an idea that would be great for the rockers among you and could easily be adapted for some awesome creepy cute style.
  • If you’re looking for something super retro, cherry shoe clips are a great addition to a kitschy rockabilly outfit or a cherry print dress.
Shoe clip bases are pretty easy to buy (and buy in bulk) online. Ebay and Etsy are my favorite sources for supplies, and I always keep at least one pair of blank clips in my craft box in case I'm struck by a desire to make my shoes match my outfit better.

Why shoe clips?

I love shoe clips for one very good reason: versatility. They allow me to have just a few pairs of simple shoes and dress them up in any way I please. In alternative fashions that are as coordination-oriented as Lolita, shoe clips are a good way to pull a simple pair of shoes into the color scheme. They can add historical inspiration. And they are much less expensive than buying a whole new pair of shoes!

Do you own any shoe clips?

1 comment:

  1. Great article Emily! You've hit the nail on the head with the versatility of shoe clips. We've had our range up on Etsy for a couple of years now. We're always thrilled to be part of someone's wedding but also get a kick out of posting to New York or Europe from Australia. Take a peek at our range at

    Keep up the good work!

    Kaye & Laura